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Sages, Stories, and Tattoos

This past year, instead of writing stories, I interviewed a dozen artists—musicians, authors, and writer friends.

One of these friends teased, “Interviews? They’re kind of your thing now.” I counted the interviews—thirteen—and wondered, Has this become my thing? I've always wanted to tell stories.

Tattoos are a form of storytelling. I wouldn’t know, but—I asked my youngest brother whose left arm’s images sprawl together, telling a story—I think I understand why he adds more images to his body as he ages. Stories connect us. Stories give us room to make sense of things lost or lovely. Stories are memories and stories are art.

For three years, I’ve told stories through blogging. Somedays I’ve wanted to delete the weaker or more novice blog posts. Were my stories any good? I switched to interviewing because I didn’t really know.

I listened to artists talk about their love for creating. How it takes devoted time and courage. Discernment paired with diligence.

If Jesus’ half-brother James said, “be quick to listen,” and showed us the absurdity of boasting, the same must apply for writing. But what if lacking the diligence to write is just as absurd?

Ephesians 2:8-10 surfaced in conversations with these artists— “For by grace you have been saved through faith—” and the result? Because we love Jesus, we walk in the good works God has prepared for us in advance.

For John Van Deusen, this means writing hymns while also producing music for secular venues. I interviewed him to learn how he sets aside time to create and what this looks like.

In an interview with author Hannah Anderson, we discussed how to tell better stories by considering, “What to Reveal for Authentic Storytelling.”

The Tim Challies interview was a collaboration with writer friends. Tim is a mentor to many, and his replies are worth a read. When Tim shared the link with his own readers, the article reached a larger audience.

And a highlight for me was a Zoom-call interview with author Trevin Wax titled, “Patience with Publishing.”

The year of interviews paused my writing and gave me chance to listen. I love that it also allowed readers to explore these themes with me, answering questions that we humans—all of us storytellers—sometimes must ask.



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